Critter eviction day…Removing vines from brick

My latest project is to restore a 1924 duplex and let me tell you, I have my work cut out for me!  But I’m looking forward to every minute of the challenge.

Cute, red brick all around that is unfortunately covered entirely by vines.    This is a popular option for people that want to soften the hard lines of brick or as in this case, to conceal flaws in the brick walls from foundation issues.  If you currently have or are considering planting ivy or vines along your brick, think again!

Over time, vines implant themselves in any crack or crevice they can find and you place your brick’s mortar integrity at risk. Not to mention, you can’t even imagine what lies beneath this cozy maze of vines!

Day 1 of my removal wasn’t met with too many issues:

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Published in: on July 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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4 Quick and Inexpensive Bathroom Repairs-No Plumber Required

Ahh, the throne of your home for the king or queen of the castle is located here.  A place to relax and wash the troubles of the day away.   For a room that arguably gets heavy daily use in your home, you can expect that there are many small repairs that can creep up on you in a bathroom.  The good news is that most of the fix-its are very quick and easy and don’t require an expensive plumber bill.

Here’s a quick run down of common problems that can be remedied quickly and inexpensively:

1) Clogged Shower head: Hard water causes calcium buildup over time and clogged holes will cause uneven and reduced water flow.  Before resorting to removal or replacement of the head, you can try using a toothpick to remove the mineral deposits from the holes.  You can also try to soak the head in vinegar by filling a ziploc baggie full of vinegar and attaching it the head with a rubber band or tape and letting it soak for a few hours.  If this doesn’t work, you might consider replacement.

To remove the head, put a piece of masking tape around the arm (flange) for protection of the surface and using a wrench, loosen the shower head by turning to the left. The (flange) arm will stay in place.   Simply discard the old head and screw on the new one.  There are some pretty nice water saving heads available for less than $20.   Make sure you ensure a new watertight seal with white plumber’s tape.  The tape spool is usually blue with white vinyl tape and costs around $1 but well worth peace of mind to be leak free.

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Quick and Low Cost Kitchen or Bathroom Cabinet Makeover

Your natural wood cabinets looking a little old and tired lately?   Try painting them!   For the cost of a can of paint and primer, you can give your cabinets a fresh new appearance.

Using a color that is anything but neutral can give your kitchen a customized look but for resale value, neutral is the safest bet.  White and black are always classic but if you want the cabinets to still appear to be wood, I love Behr’s Paint and Primer in One in the Espresso brown tint.  I’ve also noticed a trend toward grays or sage greens, but those get a little more personalized.  Some like the eggshell finish, I like the satin.  Choose the sheen you like the best for your own project.

Ready to do it?  Here are 5 easy steps to give your kitchen cabinets a quick makeover:

Step 1) Remove doors and drawer fronts.  Remove any door hardware.  A quick tip for hardware is to secure them with masking tape to the inside of the cabinet or drawer with masking tape so they won’t get lost or mixed up.
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Tips for locating your home’s main water shut off valve

Your home’s main water shut off valve is often an overlooked feature, but you will wish one day in the event of a leak,  that you know where it is at in a moment’s notice.  Fortunately, you don’t need to be a detective when it comes to locating your home’s main water shut off valve.  There are a few usual suspects that can be hiding its location.

First you should know that your water meter located outside is a last resort option for turning off your water to your home and usually requires a special valve tool to turn it off and on; that, or a tricky use of pliers in what is typically a wet, muddy hole.  Most modern homes are equipped with a secondary water shut off valve that are more accessible and quicker to turn off on the inside.

Interior valves are usually either one of two styles:

A Gate Valve which resembles your garden hose attachment

or a Ball  valve that has a lever on it

Here’s some places to look inside your home:

1)  Look in closets on the front of your home for little cabinets; these little cabinets on interior walls may have your shut off valve.  Most shut off valves for water will be painted blue but don’t be surprised if they are over-sprayed with paint.

2) Look in your laundry room

3) Look in your garage walls

4)  Look under your bathroom or kitchen sinks (all faucets and toilets usually have their own secondary shut off valves so a main shut off valve would be in addition to these)

Rules of thumb for colors used on valves:  Water is blue, hot water is red, gas is yellow

Take a few minutes to locate your own shut off valves.  You never know when you might need it!

Published in: on June 11, 2010 at 10:29 am  Comments (1)  
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